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Is there a modern classroom without a sign of technology in it? We’re seeing tablets and smartphones all over the place. The iPad changed the world of education. At first, it introduced subtle changes: students were using it to take notes and access online sources through the tablet. In a short period of time, however, the iPad became an educational tool with multiple roles.
If you had an iPad for every single student in the classroom, what would you do with it? How would you use it to help your students approach the process of education better? The good news is that iPads are cheaper than laptops and desktop computers, so the image of every student holding one is not far from the reality. The so-called 1-to-1 initiative (one iPad for every person) is a huge trend in schools from all around the world.
The only question is: how do you use the iPads?
You can easily create quizzes, but you can also find a quiz that’s compatible with the curriculum. Some teachers would wonder: “why don’t I just print it out?” There’s a big difference. When the students are using an iPad, they approach the quiz as a game. The pressure is not too great. Plus, they are getting immediate feedback, so they are not stressed out while waiting for you to check the answers.
If you’re an educator who follows the trends, chances are you’re already using Pinterest to collect materials for your lectures. When your students have iPads, they can do the same. Whenever they find an online source with educational information, they can pin it in the relevant board. If you’re worried that they might find inappropriate content on Pinterest, you can always opt for a student-friendly pinning app, such as Padlet or EduClipper.
As you’re giving a lecture, you’ll mention a cool online link where your students can find more information. Instead of waiting for them to note down the link (as if they could note down a huge link) or sending it to their email, you can simply send it through an app and they will all get it instantly.
If you use a private Facebook group, pinning app, or a blog to do that, you can also ask your students to comment and tell you what they think. That’s a great method for triggering discussions.
When students get sick and stay away from the classroom for days or weeks, it’s hard for them to fit in once they get back. To avoid the slide, you can share the materials and they will access them through an iPad. You can also connect with them through a conference call. They will watch the lectures in their homes and they won’t miss anything.
Plus, they will feel connected with their friends when they are having a hard time being sick. At the end of the lecture, everyone in the classroom can say hi.
Even if you have a single iPad in the classroom, you can use it in an activity that involves everyone - making a class video project on any theme. You can record a discussion and edit it in a nice video. You can ask them to prepare a presentation and turn it into a cool video that will present the class to the whole world.
The iPad is much more than a tool for taking notes. In fact, if your students only use it for taking notes, they will soon get bored by the process and they will start looking for distractions through that very same device. You need to turn the iPad into an educational tool that everyone loves using. You need to turn it into a teacher-student mediator.
There’s a similarity between all different implementations of the iPad we listed above - the device creates a connection between the teacher and the students.
When you’re teaching children about animals, they can all watch a National Geographic show at the end of the lecture. You get the point: the iPad serves as a mediator because it shows what you teach. Sometimes words are not enough. When you’re teaching them about the Universe, your vivid explanations and cool photos will be great, but not as great as a NASA video that everyone can watch on an iPad.
For many people around the world, the device is practically the foundation of learning. Let’s not forget that not everyone has access to high-quality education. Do you know how powerful an iPad can be in those situations? Fortunately, your students have you. The iPad won’t take your role as an educator. It will only enhance it.
This tool is an open door to a world of knowledge. “There’s an app for that” sounds like a cliché statement, but it’s true. Whenever you want to trigger discussions in the classroom, you can find an app that will support the process. If you want to motivate your students to write short stories, you can use an app that gives them writing prompts. You want to teach them a thing or two about brainstorming? There’s an app for that, too! Instead of relying solely on your explanations, you can make the lessons clearer when you and your students use the iPad the right way.
The educators who are not ready to introduce iPads in the classrooms have one main concern: the distraction factor. We shouldn’t take that concern lightly. It’s very easy for the students to access a game or messaging app through the iPad, so you’ll have to monitor them if they all have devices. That makes your job a bit more challenging.
However, if you manage to engage them with fun activities, they will be happy to use the iPad as an educational tool. You can achieve that through different ways, and we suggested some of them above. When you use the iPad to engage your students, it can become the mediator between your knowledge and their comprehension. Are you ready to embrace this trend?